Variety Comparison: Bracken Rose and Rock Run Ashley

These two beautiful hybrids, Bracken Rose* and Rock Run Ashley, have a lot of similarities, and I chose to feature them today because I’ve seen them frequently mixed up in gardens and on social media, and I wanted to show how they have some obvious differences.

*First, let me address that investigative dahlia growers have recently discovered that the dahlia popularly known as “Bracken Rose” here in the U.S. is mis-named. To my knowledge, no one knows what the actual name for it is, just that the original Bracken Rose (hybridized in Australia) is a different flower! Some growers have started referring to the commonly-distributed-in-America version of “Bracken Rose” as Bracken Ruse, which *is* clever but bothers me because it infers that someone was trying to be tricky when they mistakenly labeled the dahlia we love with the wrong name. In my head, I’ve been calling it “The Dahlia Formerly Known as Bracken Rose.” To avoid confusion for our dahlia tuber customers, we are still listing it with the name it has been known by for years here in the U.S. in our online tuber catalog, with an explanation in the description. In today’s comparison, I’ll still call it Bracken Rose.

Bracken Rose and Rock Run Ashley are both 3″-3.5″ ball form dahlias that grow for us on 30″-36″ plants. As you can see, both have an incredibly beautiful, blushy palette, but Bracken Rose tends more towards a smoky mauve, with rosy “flashbacks” to its petals, and Rock Run Ashley tends more towards a warmer peachy color. Interestingly, Rock Run Ashley changes color throughout the season more than most dahlias, with a more pink-blush color when days are long (mid summer, when it first blooms), and a more tawny-peach when days shorten (in fall, when these videos were taken at our farm). 

These two dahlias are quite similar in their vigor and excellent bloom- and tuber-production in our fields. Both have a very high petal count, strong stems, and are amazing in the garden, in every kind of floral design work, and we wouldn’t want to be without either in our flower fields! 

What other differences/similarities do you see in these two? 💐

Over the past 12 years, Steve and I have curated over 700 named dahlia varieties to grow in our fields. When they’re in bloom, it’s super easy to remember why we do the fall/winter work to keep all those beauties organized…. The beauty is breathtaking, and it is so useful to have lots of varieties available to compare blooms side by side for height, and vigor, and to observe how they change throughout the season. We hope you’re enjoying this Variety Comparison series!